Motlow presents “From History to Hip Hop” with musician Jonathan Blanchard

Musician, historian, and educator Jonathan Blanchard will perform at Motlow on Wednesday as part of African American History Month Celebration. (Photo Provided)

LYNCHBURG — Musician, historian, and educator Jonathan Blanchard will present From History to Hip Hop as part of Motlow State’s African American History Month Celebration, according to Angelica Dotson, celebration month event coordinator. The virtual performance will be presented Wednesday, February 23, at 11 a.m. and can be accessed by clicking here. Meeting ID: 884 9270 4364, Passcode: BHM. The public is invited.

From History to Hip Hop showcases an array of American music, beginning with songs sung by inbound slaves crossing the Atlantic Ocean, to work songs, and ending with the creation and introduction of hip hop as a genre. Through the use of music, storytelling, and the arts, Blanchard explores historical events that create interactive, academic, and intellectual dialogue at the conclusion of the performance.

“Motlow State is pleased to bring Jonathan Blanchard into our learning community as we celebrate African American History Month,” said Dotson. “From History to Hip Hop” intersects multiple disciplines, including history, music, sociology, psychology, theatre, and others. By hosting a virtual performance, our span of engagement is greater and all campuses and the community at-large have an opportunity to participate, enjoy, and engage, thus allowing for greater dialogue and insights.”

Vocal heavy field songs and gospel hymns, which Blanchard describes as “songs that are a mixture of Blues and Appalachian Mountain music” lead the performance before moving into Blues and the major impact it had across the spectrum of American music. According to Blanchard, “Mississippi is the home of the blues, but Memphis is its caretaker.”

A Memphis native, Blanchard’s deep, rich, seductive sound is unmatched in soul music. His soulful delivery of music is reminiscent of artists such as Barry White, Isaac Hayes, Nat King Cole, and Paul Robeson. He is heavily influenced by Memphis artists, including EWF, The Bar-Kays, and W.C. Handy. He describes his lyrical content as “honest” and is able to express his views on an array of subject matter with commonality and practicality. Blanchard recently released his first studio album, “Freedom Soul, the REVOLUTION.”

Acknowledged as an advocate for arts education, Blanchard conducts workshops and residencies in schools and colleges. He earned a bachelor of science degree in commercial music and a master of science degree in music education. He is a Lincoln Center Teaching Artist and serves as a teaching artist for the Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Alabama Arts Commissions.

View Motlow’s calendar on African American History Month events by going to For more information on the performance, email Angelica Dotson at [email protected] or Brenda Cannon at [email protected]. The month-long celebration events are co-sponsored by the Office of the Dean of Students and the Access and Diversity Committee. •

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